Fri 10 - Sun 19 November 2017
Pee Wee Ellis Funk Assembly
Hooks and Rhymes
2 Empire Mews
Sax legend and former James Brown bandleader heads this funky party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ‘Cold Sweat’ - the song that heralded THE BIRTH OF FUNK!
Pee Wee Ellis leads his Funk Assembly to explore the interwoven relationships between jazz, funk and hip hop - taking a musical journey through the sounds of the originators through to the break beats and hooks that became the samples that influenced the hip hop generations of the 80s, 90s and beyond.
After some 55 eventful years as a musician, bandleader, arranger and composer, sax legend and funk innovator Pee Wee Ellis is still touring the world and working on new collaborations.
His remarkable story spans six decades, starting in the 50s when he took himself and his sax off to New York City to find his heroes Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and the great Sonny Rollins (who became his teacher and mentor.) A promising career leading jazz bands in Florida took an unexpected turn in the 1965 when he joined James Brown's Sensational Revue, playing alto sax.
Within six months he was bandleader/musical director and was co-writing with James Brown, including '˜Cold Sweat' (widely acknowledged as the first true funk record, recorded 50 years ago this year) and many of JB's hits for the next four years.
By 1970 Pee Wee moved on to CTI in New York and was producing and directing for the likes of Brother Jack McDuff, Esther Phillips and George Benson. In 1979 in California he caught the ear of Van Morrison and began a five year spell as Van's MD/bandleader arranging the horns on albums such as '˜Into the Music' and '˜Common One'